City of Reno

Staff Report - Planning Commission

Staff Report (For Possible Action): Case No. LDC18-00039 (Sky Vista Southwest Commercial) – A request has been made for a special use permit to allow for the construction of a ±10,985 square foot commercial project located adjacent to residentially zoned property. The ±1.91 acre site is located on the east side of Vista Knoll Parkway, ±200 feet north of its intersection with Sky Vista Parkway within the Community Commercial (CC) zone. The site has a Master Plan Land Use designation of Special Planning Area. hrm


Department:Community Development - PlanningSponsors:
Category:SUP (Special Use Permit)Wards:Ward 4

Staff Report Formal Body

Ward #:


Case No.:

LDC18-00039 (Sky Vista Southwest Commercial)


Cado Sky Vista, LLC

APN Number:



A request has been made for a special use permit to allow for the construction of a ±10,985 square foot commercial project located adjacent to residentially zoned property.


The ±1.91 acre site is located on the east side of Vista Knoll Parkway, ±200 feet north of its intersection with Sky Vista Parkway within the Community Commercial (CC) zone.  The site has a Master Plan Land Use designation of Special Planning Area.

Proposed Motion:

Based upon compliance with the applicable findings, I move to approve the special use permit, subject to conditions.


Recommended Conditions of Approval:


All conditions shall be met to the satisfaction of Community Development Department staff, unless otherwise noted.


  1. The project shall comply with all applicable City codes, plans, reports, materials, etc., as submitted.  In the event of a conflict between said plans, reports, materials and City codes, City codes in effect at the time the application is submitted, shall prevail.
  2. The applicant shall apply for all building permits for the project within eighteen (18) months from the date of final approval, and continuously maintain the validity of those permits, or this approval shall be null and void.
  3. Prior to the issuance of any building permit, the applicant shall attach a copy of the final approval letter.
  4. Parking lot sweeping and/or cleaning shall be prohibited between the hours of 9:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m. 
  5. Prior to the issuance of any permit, the applicant shall have plans approved that demonstrate dark skies lighting systems will be installed.  Light poles shall be limited to 30 feet in height and light standards shall be shielded and downlit. 
  6. Prior to the issuance of any permit, the applicant shall have plans approved that demonstrate that any concrete masonry unit (CMU) walls shall be split face. 
  7. The outdoor patio shall be limited to hours of operation between 7:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m., seven days a week.
  8. Prior to the issuance of any permit, the applicant shall have plans approved that demonstrate the landscape plan includes the replacement of any dead or dying trees located in the sloped area adjacent to the site to the west.  A licensed landscape architect shall identify the location and number of trees that are in need of replacement on the landscape plans. 
  9. Prior to the issuance of any permit that requires sewer hookup, the applicant shall provide a copy of a sewer will-serve letter from Washoe County.
  10. Prior to the issuance of any permit, the applicant shall provide a traffic study update letter to the June 2008 Lemmon & Sky Vista Shopping Center Traffic Analysis that identifies the estimated generated traffic trips from the existing plus proposed development.  If the trip generation exceeds the values found in the June 2008 Lemmon & Sky Vista Shopping Center Traffic Analysis, an updated traffic study shall be provided.

Background:  The subject site is located within the Sky Vista Walmart site that was approved by the Planning Commission in 2008.  The site was removed from the Reno-Stead Corridor Joint Plan (LDC08-00205/RTM Sky Vista and ERGS Property) in 2009 by the City Council and confirmed to be in conformance with the Truckee Meadows Regional Plan by the Truckee Meadows Regional Planning Commission on September 9, 2009. 


The City Council approved a request to develop the Sky Vista Walmart site on an appeal of the Planning Commission decision on January 14, 2009 (LDC09-00029/Sky Vista Walmart).  The approved request included special use permits (SUPs) for: a) hillside development; b) cuts of 20 feet or greater in depth and/or fills greater than ten feet in height; c) residential adjacency; d) 24 hour operations; and e) a freestanding sign and variances to the Large Retail Establishment standards.  The subject site was identified as Pad C on the approved plan (Exhibit A).  The Sky Vista Walmart project was approved with a phased plan that required the standalone pad sites to be developed within five years of the issuance of a certificate of occupancy for the Walmart.  Walmart received a certificate of occupancy in 2011, therefore the SUP for the undeveloped portion of the site has expired.  Conditions of approval that are still relevant to the subject site have been added as recommended conditions of approval for this request (Condition Nos. 4 through 6)


The proposed building elevations and associated site improvements are consistent with the existing shopping center.  A majority of the site improvements were completed in 2011 with the development of the Walmart building.  The shopping center is currently developed to include perimeter and internal site landscaping, parking, access and circulation.  Access to the subject site is provided from an existing entrance to the site from Sky Vista Parkway via Vista Knoll Parkway.  This request is to allow for the development of a ±10,985 square foot building within the existing shopping center.   The surrounding zoning map (Exhibit B) illustrates the location of the subject site as it relates to residentially zoned property near the north terminus of Vista Knoll Parkway and the Vista Hills Planned Unit Development (PUD).  The Vista Hills PUD allows for non-residential uses as well as up to 338 residential units.  Since the subject site is proposed within a shopping center that is adjacent to residentially zoned property and a PUD with allowed residential uses, this request requires a SUP for residential adjacency.




Land Use Compatibility:  Uses surrounding the site include the Sky Vista Walmart and commercial development to the north and east.  Land to the west and south are currently vacant and are zoned to accommodate future residential and commercial development.  The subject site is approximately 1.9 acres in size and is bound by Vista Knoll Parkway to the west and the Sky Vista shopping center to the north, east and south.  Since this request is to develop a vacant pad within an existing commercial center utilizing similar architecture and site improvements, the request is compatible with existing and future land uses surrounding the site.  The proposed site layout and landscaping as well as proposed building elevations are depicted in Exhibit B of this report (SUP finding a).


Urban/Environmental Design:  The site has been previously graded in anticipation of future development and will utilize and incorporate the existing parking, circulation and landscape area.  The applicant has proposed a ±25 foot tall, single story building that is consistent with the existing buildings constructed on the site (Exhibit B).  The building includes vertical and horizontal articulation as well as a mixture of building materials that include stone veneer, stucco and metal roof and finish elements.  The proposal includes an outdoor patio located on the south side of the building. 


Allowed hours of operation for the site are between 6:00 a.m. and 11:00 p.m.  While the outdoor patio has been located in a manner that activities on the patio should not have a negative impact on future residential development, it is recommended that the patio hours be limited to between the hours of 7:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m., seven days a week (Condition No. 7).  A drive up automatic teller machine (ATM) is identified to the south of the proposed building.  The access to the ATM has been designed that headlights will not shine in the direction of adjacent residentially zoned properties.  Adequate vehicle stacking has been provided and the site is able to accommodate an ATM while meeting other site improvement requirements including parking and landscaping (SUP finding a).


The applicant has proposed a mixture of uses that include a financial institution, low volume sit down restaurant, high volume restaurant and retail or personal service uses.  Based on the mixture of uses, the applicant anticipates that approximately 88 parking spaces will be required.  In order to ensure sufficient parking is provided onsite, the applicant has proposed a total of 93 parking spaces, of which four are accessible.  The parking table below provides a summary of the required and provided parking associated with this request. 



Square footage

Parking Requirement/ Square Feet

Spaces Required

Financial Institution




Low Volume Restaurant




High Volume Restaurant




Retail or Personal Service













Reno Municipal Code (RMC) 18.12.1201 (Landscaping and Screening) requires 15% of a site within the CC zone to be landscaped with a total of 52 required trees.  According to the application materials, approximately 0.56 acres contain existing landscape area including 30 existing trees.  The proposed request includes the installation of 34 new trees.  These landscaped areas include the area along Vista Knoll Parkway and areas within the landscape islands.  The proposed project will incorporate an additional ±8,718 square feet of landscape area that will be primarily located around the building.


A landscape island is also provided near the proposed ATM located to the south of the proposed building.  Eighty five feet of vehicle stacking has been provided before the ATM machine within the drive up ATM lane (Exhibit B).


In order to reduce the extent of grading necessary for the site, the overall commercial site was developed with sidewalk located on the west side of Vista Knoll Parkway.  The east side of Vista Knoll Parkway is improved with utilities and existing landscape area along the slopes.  It appears that some of the trees located within the sloped area between the subject site and Silver Knoll Parkway are in poor condition.  The applicant should be required to replace any dead or dying trees along with the installation of planned site landscaping (Condition No. 8).


Condition No. 5 is recommended to require site lighting to be installed with dark skies lighting that is shielded and downlit.  This recommendation is consistent with previously approved development within the existing shopping center (SUP findings a, d, e & h).


The proposed project is not anticipated to generate adverse environmental impacts such as smoke, noise, glare, dust, vibrations, fumes, pollution or odor that would constitute a nuisance to surrounding properties (SUP finding f).


The applicant has proposed all future requests for wall signs to comply with the sign standards within the CC zoning district as outlined in RMC 18.16 (Signs).  It is not anticipated that illuminated wall signs, as allowed within the CC zoning district, will have a negative impact on surrounding properties.  There are existing freestanding signs to serve the site (SUP finding g).


Public SafetyThe Reno Police Department did not indicate any concerns related to the proposed project.  RPD comments related to maintenance of site landscaping in a manner that maintains site visibility (Exhibit C)


Fire access will need to be maintained during construction.  During and throughout the construction process, work on a construction project may be prohibited by the Reno Fire Department for failure to maintain adequate emergency access to the site.  Hydrants will be required to be installed and tested prior to lumber being brought on site for the construction of any structure. 


All future development will be required to comply with the International Fire Code in effect at the time of development.  Such compliance shall include, but shall not be limited to, fire department access, fire sprinkler systems as required, fire alarm systems as required and fire hydrant placement as required (SUP finding c). 


Public Improvements:  The existing development located to the north and east is currently served by Washoe County sewer.  The proposed development sanitary sewer will also be served by Washoe County.  A will serve from Washoe County will be required before any building permit that requires a sewer hookup is approved (Condition No. 8).


The proposed site will tie into the existing privately owned and maintained storm drain system.  This storm drain system drains to an offsite retention/detention basin located northwest of the proposed development as shown in the drainage map exhibit attached to this report (Exhibit D).  This basin is privately owned and maintained by a commercial association that was put in place with previous development on the site.  The storm water from the proposed site was analyzed under a master drainage report completed for the currently existing development located to the north and east.  The drainage analysis includes the drainage discharge from the site during both a five and 100-year storm event.  The drainage report stated that a retention/detention basin was required to retain at least 4.61 acre-feet for Phases 1 - 3.  During the analyzed 100-year storm event the basin reaches a maximum elevation of 5,044.40 feet.  The currently installed retention/detention basin has a crest elevation of 5,051.20 which allows the basin to store ±23.22 acre-feet of storm water (SUP finding c)


Circulation:  The site is accessed from a driveway located off Vista Knoll Parkway.  A master traffic analysis was completed for a ±188,000 square foot shopping center that included ±185,000 square feet of retail building area and ±3,000 square feet of restaurant building area.  The project was estimated to generate 10,511 average daily trips (ADT) with 261 AM peak hour trips (PHT) and 973 PM PHT.  Prior to the approval of a building permit a traffic update should be done verifying that the existing development plus this proposed development have not exceeded the estimated generated trips (Condition No. 9).  The traffic study provided recommendations that included the installation of a traffic signal at the intersection of Vista Knoll Parkway and Sky Vista Parkway.  The required traffic signal was installed during the construction of the existing Sky Vista Walmart shopping center.  The Regional Transportation Commission (RTC) identifies Sky Vista Parkway as being widened to four lanes from Vista Knoll Parkway to Silver Lake Road in the 2023-2035 timeframe of the Regional Transportation Plan.  Additional right-of-way is not required to be provided as a part of this request as the existing right-of-way is sufficient to accommodate the future widening of Sky Vista Parkway (SUP finding d).


Master Plan:  As proposed and with recommended conditions, the project appears to be consistent with the following applicable Master Plan policies and objectives:  Site access and circulation should be safe, convenient, logical and minimize impacts onto adjoining roads (P-1); the City should require the provision of parking for bicycles in parking lot design (P-19); building massing should not be obtrusive (BD-4); Building orientation and landscaping should be used to create buffers between housing and streets and freeways (SD-9); Objective #21 Parking Circulation: The circulation patterns of parking lots should be logical and easily comprehended by the user (SUP finding b).


General Code Compliance:  As proposed and with recommended conditions of approval, the project is consistent with the standards contained in RMC Title 18 (Annexation and Land Development).


Other Reviewing Bodies (Exhibit C)


Regional Transportation Commission (RTC):  There are existing transit services available in the area of Vista Knoll and Sky Vista Parkways via RTC Route 7.  Projects are encouraged to incorporate pedestrian and bicycle facilities as new development occurs.  Access to the site is provided utilizing existing vehicle right-of-way and pedestrian sidewalks on Sky Vista Parkway and Vista Knoll Parkway.


Neighborhood Advisory Board (NAB):  This project is scheduled to be reviewed by the Ward 4 NAB on December 21, 2017.  At the time that this staff report was prepared, comments were not available.  A copy of the NAB comments will be forwarded to the Planning Commission once they are available.




Land Use

Master Plan Designation



Mixed commercial/retail

Special Planning Area – Reno Stead Corridor Joint Plan

CC, LLR1, PUD – Vista Hills



Special Planning Area – Reno Stead Corridor Joint Plan




Special Planning Area – Reno Stead Corridor Joint Plan




Special Planning Area – Reno Stead Corridor Joint Plan

PUD – Vista Hills


Legal Requirements:


RMC 18.06.405(e)(1)               Special Use Permit




Special Use PermitGeneral special use permit findings.  Except where specifically noted, all special use permit applications shall require that all of the following general findings be met, as applicable.


a.              The proposed use is compatible with existing surrounding land uses and development.


b.              The project is in substantial conformance with the master plan.


c.              There are or will be adequate services and infrastructure to support the proposed development.


d.              The proposal adequately mitigates traffic impacts of the project and provides a safe pedestrian environment.


e.              The proposed site location and scale, intensity, density, height, layout, setbacks, and architectural and overall design of the development and the uses proposed, is appropriate to the area in which it is located.


f.              The project does not create adverse environmental impacts such as smoke, noise, glare, dust, vibrations, fumes, pollution or odor which would be detrimental to, or constitute a nuisance to area properties.


g.              Project signage is in character with project architecture and is compatible with or complementary to surrounding uses.


h.              The structure has been designed such that the window placement and height do not adversely affect the privacy of existing residential uses.



Meeting History

Jan 3, 2018 6:00 PM Video Reno City Planning Commission Regular

Eric Hasty, Wood Rodgers, representing the applicant, presented an overview of the project to the commission.

Heather Manzo, Assistant Planner, presented the staff report. NAB 4 comments received were related to drainage and traffic for the area, which have both been addressed in the staff report. No calls or emails were received from members of the public regarding this project.

Chair Gower and Commissioner Marshall had no disclosures. The remaining commissioners present disclosed that they visited the site and/or spoke with applicant's representative.

At this time Chair Gower opened public comment for this item.

Tammy Holt-Still discussed flooding issues in the North Valleys.

Hearing and seeing no additional public comment requests, Chair Gower closed public comment.

Janelle Thomas, Senior Civil Engineer, confirmed for Commissioner Marshall that this project will be treated at the Lemmon Valley Plant which means there will be a slight increase in effluent discharge.

Shawnee Dunagan, Associate Civil Engineer, confirmed for Commissioner Marshall that the water retained in that basin goes to groundwater or evaporates.

Commissioner Marshall asked if Swan Lake and Silver Lake both drain to the same underlying groundwater system, and if increasing infiltration from this project will decrease the ability of Swan Lake to drain.

Ms. Dunagan responded to Commissioner Marshall that if they drain to the same aquifers, yes that would be the case, but they could be draining to different aquifers.

Mr. Hasty responded to questions from Chair Gower regarding the size of the proposed building and the potential uses that would be allowed. He also explained that the sewage generation would vary based on what services the uses provide.

Ms. Dunagan confirmed that sewage generation would vary based on what service is provided. In general, the potential uses would generate far less water for a treatment facility than a residential use.

Ms. Thomas reviewed for Commissioner Weiske some of the information presented in a past Planning Commission meeting by Kerri Lanza, Public Works Senior Civil Engineer, regarding the 100 year flood elevation and dedicated volume still available.

Mr. Hasty explained for Commissioner Weiske that the retention and detention basin is not on the applicant's property. He also explained that as long as it does not reach 23.2 acre feet of water within the basin it will sit there until it dries out or gets absorbed by the ground.

Mr. Hasty reviewed for Commissioner Weiske the plans for light poles. They will be the same design as the existing light poles and will comply with the dark skies standards.

Ms. Manzo explained for Commissioner Weiske that in staff's evaluation of this request they reviewed the surrounding area and the existing signage on the site and did not feel that any restrictions to wall sign illumination would need to be placed at this time.

Commissioner Weiske stated that there is an opportunity with this phase and future phases to minimize the amount of light pollution from glow of lights by reducing nighttime lighting and the height of light poles.

Ms. Dunagan explained for Commissioner Marshall that the addition to the retention basin from this phase of the project is combined with Walmart’s numbers in the hydrology report.

Commissioner Weiske discussed the possibility of requiring that the signage on the west side of the building not be illuminated. He also discussed conditioning the two parking lot light poles to be no higher than the lowest roof elevation of the proposed building to keep light from going west.

Chair Gower stated that he is okay with the suggested lighting condition but overall this is a very small component of a larger development and one sign and two light poles will not make a difference. He also expressed the same perspective regarding the water and sewer issues.

Commissioner Marshall discussed the fact that while two or three light poles and five toilets won’t make a difference, they are all cumulative impacts. He expressed concerns with approving development in the North Valleys and making Findings B, C and F because this is contributing to an environmental problem.

Andy Durling, Wood Rodgers, responded to questions from Commissioner Hawkins regarding the Walmart detention basin. The basin that was created is four times what is necessary for this project. Because there is about a quarter mile of drainage channel that leads to that detention basin, it is very rare that water actually gets into the basin. The drainage channel is acting as an LID channel and is allowing water to filter into the groundwater.

Commissioner Johnson discussed the need to keep in mind the overall picture and consider the positive impacts of the project as well. This project will offer employment opportunity that will reduce the impact on traffic.

Commissioner Marshall noted that all projects will have some positive elements but we will still be faced with the question regarding the water situation. More information is needed regarding cumulative effects.

Chair Gower agreed that more information is needed regarding cumulative effects of projects. He discussed the fact that he can make Finding F because this project would not constitute a nuisance to area properties. He also expressed support for Commissioner Weiske’s suggested condition regarding lighting.

Commissioner Olivas expressed concern regarding sewer and Swan Lake capacity issues. He discussed the positives of the project and stated that overall he can make the findings.

Chair Gower stated that if a motion is made and is successful to not approve this proposal, then we would be in effect creating a moratorium on development in the North Valleys because we would not likely see a project that is any smaller that would have less environmental impact than this project.

Commissioner Johnson expressed concern with reducing the light pole height and suggested looking at fixtures with a wider throw rather than lowering the poles and having to increase the number of light poles in the parking lot. He also stated that Chair Gower’s comments regarding the impacts not constituting a nuisance to area properties help him to make Finding F.

It was moved by Commissioner Johnson, seconded by Commissioner Weiske, in the case of LDC18-00039 (Sky Vista Southwest Commercial), based upon compliance with the applicable findings, to approve the special use permit, subject to conditions with an added condition regarding signage on the west not being illuminated and that parking lot lighting with this phase be no higher than the highest point on the building as proposed.

Mr. Hasty discussed the applicant’s desire to have some type of sign lighting on the west side and suggested indirect lighting or turning it off after 10:00 p.m.

Commissioner Johnson amended the motion to condition a lighted sign on the west side of the building to be turned off at 10:00 p.m.

Commissioner Weiske asked if this can be tied to the allowed business hours.

Claudia Hanson, Planning Manager, confirmed that it can be tied to allowed business hours but it would be difficult to track hours of operation on the uses for enforcement. She also noted that there is already 24 hour lighting allowed on the property for Walmart.

Commissioner Weiske seconded the amended motion.

Ms. Manzo stated that the allowed hours of operation for this site go to 11:00 p.m.

Commissioner Johnson stated that he will leave the motion as is for 10:00 p.m.

Commissioner Marshall stated that he cannot make Finding F. He explained that the language in Finding F states "which would be detrimental to, or constitute a nuisance to area properties". Even though the project may not meet the standard of a nuisance in and of itself, it does contribute to a detrimental impact.

Motion carried with four (4) in favor and two (2) oppositions by Commissioners Marshall and Hawkins.

Ms. Hanson stated that staff is waiting for additional information from John Flansberg, Director of Public Works on results from initial studies and research on the issues in the North Valleys. The presentation on those results will be given in February.

(A recess was called at 7:37 p.m. The meeting resumed at 7:47 p.m.)

MOVER:Mark Johnson, Vice-Chairman
SECONDER:Kevin Weiske, Commissioner
AYES:Kevin Weiske, Mark Johnson, Paul Olivas, Peter Gower
NAYS:Ed Hawkins, John Marshall
ABSENT:Britton Griffith